Good news. You’ve arrived at the right place. Well the right place to find the right places. Here are a number of links to the information you need on what jobs there are, how you get them and what a career in TV production is really like.
You’ll also be wondering where all the jobs are advertised. Well for entry level, the Facebook Runners page has got that covered. It’s the go-to place for pretty much every employer who is looking for a Runner. And remember: never, ever pay any site (like Production Base, mandy, Film & TV Pro) for the right to apply for any jobs. You don’t have to as all the jobs are free to find elsewhere.
And good luck – it’s a tough industry to break into but it can be a lot of fun once you’re in. Just remember that when you find yourself sweeping discarded crisp packets out of the crew vehicle at midnight.
We thought it would be a good idea to show the minimum you should be paid per hour. Holiday pay should be paid at the end of your contract for any untaken holiday, and on a casual engagement it should be added to the rate. (NB. Holiday pay is calculated at the PACT rate of 10.77%. If you are lucky your company will use the BECTU rate of 12.07%).
The government website has more details about NMW, employment rights for interns and work experience, as well as working as an intern and as an apprentice (they are NOT the same thing). (Apprentice holiday pay is not shown above as the rate is different from Workers).
Lizzie Evans has compiled a list of companies who offer specific work experience schemes:
She says: “This list is far from complete so I’m sure there are many many more out there that might be worth looking into. I should also note that most of these companies are based in London so I’m not sure how much use this will be for regional runners, but I hope it will help some people get the break they need.”
You want to break into the sparkly world of TV but you feel like you have nothing of value to put on your Runner CV. No relevant production experience and nothing to show off except your 25 yard swimming certificate and the Cycling Proficiency badge you got in Year 8.
Worry not though – you are not alone! It’s something that many would-be runners worry about, judging by the many times this pops up on the Facebook page.
And actually, you may be in for a bit of a surprise, as chances are that you do actually have something of real value to put down (and by the way, well done on the cycling thing).
Because here’s what an employer in the industry has to say about what she looks for in a CV when she is hiring runners…
As an employer, I don’t always look for runner experience, especially if it’s just a couple of days here and there. Instead I look for experience that means you could be a good runner; that you’re reliable, trustworthy, and essentially, employable.
So, whether I’m looking for an office or location runner, I look for valuable transferable skills. Here are some examples:
1) Bar work Transferable skills: antisocial hours, dealing with difficult people, managing a busy/messy environment, cash handling.
2) Security work Transferable skills: comfortable outside, good with difficult people, calm in the face of conflict, anti-social hours.
3) Admin/office work Transferable skills: good administration skills, well organised, used to demonstrating a professional workplace manner.
4) Reception work Transferable skills: good telephone manner, professional conduct, presentable, welcoming, good at making tea (a runner essential!).
5) Retail work Transferable skills: long hours, used to standing on your feet, cash handling, dealing with the public, working in a team.
6) Cleaning work Transferable skills: willing to get your hands dirty, able to manage a messy environment, detail orientated, can-do attitude to less glamorous tasks.
7) Driving work Transferable skills: driving licence (vital!), responsible, good time management, good navigational skills, reliable.
8) Warehouse work Transferable skills: good at working in a team, used to less comfortable environments, health and safety conscious, trained in heavy lifting (eg useful for dealing with kit!)
So there you go – you don’t have to have done 6 months on Bake Off to have something enticing to put on your CV. All experience is good experience, especially proper get-stuck-in-and-get-your-hands-dirty-stuff.
So have a rewrite and make the most of what you do have – it may have more value than you think.
And if you did work on Bake Off…that Paul Hollywood, what’s he really like?
**There have now been new guidelines released which say that anyone whose fixed term contract has expired can no longer be rehired and furloughed, where they had been allowed before.
As of 3pm Friday, the government furloughing scheme (CJRS) allows companies to rehire and furlough freelancers whose contracts have come or are coming to a natural end, whether or not those contracts were curtailed by Covid-19. Those contracts can also be extended until the end of the scheme (currently May 31st).
That is not conjecture, opinion or guesswork: those are the facts, as contained in the official government guidelines and every single piece of written guidance issued by official sources since they were published and amended (see numerous written responses from HMRC on previous pages). It is those guidelines which both ITV and the BBC are using to furlough freelancers until May 31st, including those whose contracts have come to a natural end.
Unless and until there is any change in the government’s position, that remains the case, whatever speculation there is out there, including on the pages of the PACT website and in emails from PACT to its members.
Anyone who suggests otherwise is scaremongering in a reckless and thoughtless way and is putting freelancers’ livelihoods at risk . There is a huge amount of distress being expressed by a lot of people now on social media, all of which is being caused directly by PACT continuing to put out information that is not publicly verified and is not supported by the facts as they exist.
If PACT continues to frighten their members into not furloughing their freelancers on the basis of unverified supposition then they are doing a significant disservice to the industry and all their members, almost all of whom are trying their best to help and support the freelancers they care for
John McVay – you need to take that guidance down until you have the official confirmation needed to support it. Until you do you are creating confusion and unnecessary grief to a lot of freelance workers in our industry.
It’s open to all to join and here’s what it’s all about, in the words of its founders:
The Television Freelancers Task Force is a new initiative for freelancers in the TV industry coming together with the hope of bringing change during these unprecedented times. With the industry currently experiencing enforced downtime, there has never been a better time to take stock and plan for positive change moving forward.
The group is made up of experienced industry freelancers who have come together to campaign for fundamental change within the industry.
We will present our ideas for change to the broadcasters and independent production companies and serve as a rally focus and partner for the unions and guilds who represent freelancers across the sector. Our goals and aims might be seen by some as ‘too idealistic’ – but what’s important is that we start the conversation.
The Television Freelancers Task Force (TFTF) is made up of Lou Patel, Michelle James and Natalie Grant from Share My Telly Job, Adeel Amini from The TV Mindset, James Taylor from Viva La PD, Adrian Pegg, Mark Watson and Benetta Adamson from The TV Watercooler and other leading industry Facebook Groups, and Jude Winstanley from The Unit List.
Whilst we will all continue to work on our individual campaigns, we realise, that as a collective, our reach across the industry is more significant. Together, we hope to be more effective in tackling the well-publicised issues freelancers face today.
Our aim is to come out from this crisis with fairer working conditions for freelancers right across the board.
Our Facebook Group is now live – our membership is an essential part of our mission to create a louder voice so, if you hope for a better work-life balance in an industry that acknowledges your talent, please join the group today.
We have attached our launch document which sets out our aims and goals. We endeavour to keep the group updated on matters that are changing quickly and with the progress we are making.
Please share this post with industry colleagues and join our Facebook group today
Starting out in TV can be incredibly daunting. Finding a job within the TV world can feel completely unattainable when viewing the industry as a television fanatic. The one thing to say before anything else is, passion. You HAVE to be passionate about going into TV before you decide it is the career path for you. If you don’t love it from the outside you certainly will not like it from the inside.
I am only starting out myself, and I don’t pretend to speak as any sort of authority. But I felt writing down my thoughts about the industry as I experience each step along the way would be a good way for others following a similar path now, and in the future, to have some sort of guidance from someone who isn’t sitting in a career guidance office.
I re-wrote my CV about 15 times before posting it on the Facebook Runner’s Group (more on that later). But, all of my guidance had been given to me by the Careers team at my university.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the people that work in that office, they really do care about the pupils seeking help from them. But, in the case of my university at least, they don’t have particular expertise when it comes to the TV industry.
I got quite a shocking response from a particular member of the Facebook Runner’s Group, which left me quite downhearted. But every cloud has a silver lining!
I then received a flurry of incredibly thoughtful messages from producers, co-ords, PMs, you name it! One lovely lady (shoutout to Producer Emily Everdee) even gave me my first Floor Running job on a short film!
One man, in particular, reached out to me via phone. He could not have been kinder and I will be forever in his debt. He probably spent at least 4 hours with me (across separate days) on the phone giving me advice about my CV. He then gave up his own valuable time to go through my CV, make corrections, and send me back new edits via email. We corresponded many times via email until my CV was ‘perfected’ and we agreed it was ready to be sent out to employers.
Since then, I have only had positive responses to my CV – and I have even bagged myself some job interviews!
2. EMAIL EMAIL EMAIL
90 per cent of the time you will not get a response, but keep at it!
Watch the credits at the end of your favourite TV programmes, note down the names of the PAs and Production companies and send them a cover letter, CV, and a note to say that you are really keen to get some credits and would love to do some work for them as a Runner if they have anything available. Most of all, BE POLITE AND GRATEFUL.
Look out for the big work experience, graduate schemes, and internships posted by the major television networks, e.g. the BBC, Channel 4, etc.
Follow your favourite production companies on LinkedIn and keep a lookout for any posts about upcoming Runner job applications or trainee opportunities.
This is where EVERYONE will tell you ALL the jobs get posted. Facebook is the place to find TV work and this is the page that will have all entry-level job traffic. Also… it has around 58,000 members (at the time of this writing) – so apply to every job that is appropriate for you. You’re up against BIG competition.
If and when you are offered a running job, NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK.
I wrote this in my previous post, choose the right moment and, when you do, be yourself.
Stay in touch with people you get along with.
I have been lucky enough to meet some people that have been true gems. They have not only messaged me back when I have sent them overly excited messages about them being right all along, after I have just been offered another running job, but they have also made me feel like I have gained some really great friends.
5. Be proactive
No one is going to get you jobs. This industry is fearless and if you’re going to be a freelancer, which you probably are, you’re going to have to WANT those jobs REALLY badly.
Do not stop when you have enough money to pay the bills – what about that dry patch when you don’t have work for a month?! We have all got to eat guys.
Let’s not forget, you have to learn how to budget and we have all got to learn how to be on the lookout for jobs ALL. THE. TIME.
6. Don’t give up at the first hurdle
If you’re thinking giving up the first time someone tells you that you’re not good enough then you need to start growing a thicker skin to survive in the TV world.
You will get rejected, you will sometimes be unemployed. DO NOT GIVE UP.
Those butterflies of being a tiny cog in that big old clock that produces a beautiful programme for all to behold. THAT buzz will keep you going.
7. Keep watching TV
Keep your passion alive. Keep watching the things you love and that will shine through to employers.
Watch the programmes of the people you will be working for. When you write a job application for a production company, watch their shows. If you get the job, then you will not be afraid of talking about what they’ve done if you get the opportunity on set. If you don’t get the job, well then you have learnt something new from watching a programme you would not have otherwise.
Stay up to date with what is popular in terms of hit series, but also in terms of new filming styles and genres, and up-and-coming producers, actors, etc.
8. PEOPLE IN TV ARE LOVELY!!!
Most importantly, don’t be afraid! Almost every person I have met in TV so far have been absolute angels.
Yes, you may encounter the odd knobhead or two. But, as my boss at my first waitressing job told me, kill them with kindness. If someone is being nasty to you for no apparent reason, there is either something going on in their life that has made them react in that way, which means their behaviour has nothing to do with you. Or, they are a general mega bitch, and they are not worth your mental energy.
Fremantle is one of the largest and most successful creators, producers and distributors of scripted and unscripted content in the world. We produce in excess of 12,000 hours of original programming, roll out more than 60 formats and air 450 programmes a year worldwide. We are best known in the UK for shows such as Take Me Out, X Factor, Grand Designs, The Apprentice and many more! We’ll be visiting Stoke-on-Trent, Taunton and Carlisle in February and would love to share this opportunity with your contacts.
Fremantle’s Access All Areas programme aims to demystify the TV industry and bring in fresh and undiscovered entry-level talent to the industry. We’ll be holding a free TV workshop at each of the above locations with industry experts and practical tips to boost CVs.The criteria? It’s simple – all we ask is attendees:
Have an interest in TV
Are aged 18+
Have little to no work experience in the television industry
All those who attend a workshop will be invited to apply for one of four, four-week paid placements held over the summer of 2020 with travel and accommodation included.More information can be found on the programme’s website